Ever headed out for a run and then suddenly out of the blue you’re experiencing bloating and your belly starts making weird noises, or even worse – you’re in dire need of a bathroom? Don’t worry, you’re not alone.
The sensation you’re experiencing is known as Runner’s Gut (also commonly referred to as runner’s stomach, runner’s belly and runner’s trots). If you have a nervous disposition, you’re young, a long distance runner or an elite level athlete, you’re more likely to experience bowel distress while running. Not only can this be upsetting and interrupt your training, it can interfere with performance on race day.
There are no clear causes for Runner’s Guts, but jiggling of the organs from the impact of running, more blood being pumped to your muscles and heart, than intestines – perhaps even race-day nerves are thought to be contributing factors. The one thing medical experts are sure of is that runners’ food moves through the intestines and bowel more rapidly than those participating in other sports.
If you are a sufferer of Runner’s Gut, try some of these tips to see if they help next time you hit the trails.
- Reduce the amount of fibre you consume the day before a run. If running is a daily fixture in your life, you may have to experiment to find an amount of fibre you can stomach the urge to run for the nearest public bathroom.
- Avoid tight fitting active wear. Clothing that puts extra pressure around your waist line can exacerbate tummy troubles.
- Don’t run as far or as fast. Cut back on the distance and the intensity to see if that reduces your symptoms.
- Forget the morning coffee. Caffeine can aggravate your gut.
- Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water and avoid drinks high in sugar like fruit juices, fizzy and energy drinks.
- Aspirin and NSAIDS like ibuprofen can irritate the stomach, so over-the-counter painkillers like Nurofen and Advil are best avoided.
What tricks have worked for your Runner’s Gut?